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Sacked NSW Executives can still get compensation for unfair dismissal
The NSW Government clawed back the unfair contracts jurisdiction of the Industrial Relations Commission, used by senior executives to get their contracts rewritten to make them fair. Prior to the changes, there was no time limit to make claims, or limits on who could claim. For example, one Microsoft executive had his share option plan rewritten so he could get share options that had not vested when he was terminated. This gave him the right to options worth $13 million.

The Industrial Relations Act now provides, in relation to "unfair contract" claims::
  • Claims can only be made if remuneration in the previous 12 months is less than $200,000 ("Remuneration Cap").
  • The Remuneration Cap includes superannuation, private use motor vehicles and bonuses.
  • The Court must now consider whether an applicant acted to mitigate loss (this is likely to reduce the size of awards).
  • Claims must be made within 12 months of termination.
  • Claims cannot be made in relation to share or share option plans.
Employers and head contractors welcomed the change but employees and contractors who think they have a claim should get legal advice about their position.

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